If there’s a single place in which it is competing with the other nations that are wealthy, and in which America United States clearly loses out in, it’s the life expectation. The average American will live approximately five years less living than people from other countries with developed economies.
It’s a figure that creates despair, and is largely borne from it. In the United States leads comparable nations in the so-called “deaths of despair.” These are suicides as well as deaths caused by alcohol use which are major contributors to the country’s declining longevity.
The situation is getting worse. Our response, while improving, isn’t even close to addressing the need for urgency that these rising deaths, and the challenges of mental and behavioral addiction and health, require. The biggest omissions we have made are taking care of the mental health demands of our young people. For those suffering from mental illness, failing is compounded by years of anxiety they’ll endure. And, even more importantly, the years of their lives that they’ll not enjoy in the event that they don’t receive the care they require.
On the 16th of July the new national hotline number 988, also known as the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, was launched. It’s hoped to initially add to the number, and then replace the previous 10-digit number. Just a few days ago, The Wall Street Journal stated it was 1.5 millions of 9.2 million calls made from the nation’s suicide hotlines in the period between 2016-2021 were dropped by callers or disconnected before counselors could be reached.
CALL CENTERS NEED TAFFERS
A severe shortage of staffers and volunteers have crippled the call centers across the country that are specifically designed to talk to those who need help with suicidal thoughts. The new $432 million federal and state funding to boost the crisis line can help reduce response times however, the officials claim that the progress in staffing up is not as rapid and the system isn’t as efficient as it could be. The focus must remain on making the system work.
Deaths from suicide across the United States are up 30 percent since 1999, and that’s 45,940 Americans who committed suicide in 2021 put the nation at a gruesome 160th place in the world for stopping suicides.
The suicide statistics are dwarfed by overdose deaths of more than 100,000 people died in the United States in the 12 months between April 2020 and April 2021, which is a fourfold increase in the last 20 years.
The isolation, stress depression, isolation along with the absence of structure caused COVID-19 has assisted in helping people with problems with drinking to find a new direction also. Alcohol-related liver disease caused the deaths of 29,502 people in the United States in 2020, an increase of more than double from 1999. The addiction experts in Long Island say they are witnessing an increase in problems with drinking.
The resources aren’t there to assist people suffering from various addiction and mental health needs addiction counselors as well as other professionals working in the field of mental health. There’s a distinct shortfall of resources that are available in New York and on Long Island to address the needs of mental health issues of children who are at risk of developing addictions and becoming a victim of suicidal thoughts.
Between 2014 to 2021 New York eliminated 32% of its state-run hospital for adolescents beds. This came as part of a strategy for the transfer of services to community-based outpatient therapy. But the money needed for that has been largely unrealized providers claim they aren’t able to pay for or keep sufficient personnel. In the end, this change in policy has caused more problems.
Youth advocates believe that, while community-based outpatient therapy is usually an option for younger patients, in situations of extreme difficulty, it’s not. There’s now a lengthy waiting list for these treatment for those who are so stressed that they cannot be delayed without causing disastrous consequences.
A CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
However, improvement is possible. The funding for addiction services has been significantly increased by both the federal and state governments. The lawsuits filed against drug companies are expected to generate around $180 million for Suffolk County over the next 18 years, while bringing just a little smaller amount to Nassau.
The Diagnostic Assessment , and Stabilization Hub that was established in Hauppauge in the year 2019, through the Family Service League, offers an all-hours stabilization, assessment and an avenue to treatment for mental health crises and addiction at its center and through mobile units. Plans for the same location in Nassau are in the process of being developed.
The attitudes towards mental illness and addiction are changing, towards realizing that addiction and mental illness are illnesses that must be treated as cancer or diabetes and not as insufficiency or willfulness. Additionally, they should be treated and viewed as part of a bigger picture since they frequently are in close proximity. The distinction between mental-health care and treatment for addiction has to be reduced.
Mental illness and addiction were historically hid and ignored. Today, the United States is increasingly finding the devastation of excessive drinking and drug use as well as suicidal anxiety, depression eating disorders, personality disorders and eating disorders, as well as a variety of mental and emotional ailments as being among its most difficult difficulties.
It’s killing us at a rate unmatched by the other developed nations. It’s about time that we turn the wheels of American innovation and perseverance into tackle the minds and bodies as well as families, communities and children whose lives are destroyed by suicide, the deadly effects of mental illness and substance abuse.
The members of the Editorial Board have years of experience as journalists and give rational opinions, based on evidence, in order to promote an informed discussion on the current challenges facing our community.
Written By Editorial Board
The editorial board members are experienced journalists who provide rational opinions, based on evidence, in order to promote an informed discussion about the challenges facing our community.